All posts by LMiddleton

Understanding that Reputations can be changed.

This year we had a group of students enter the 8th grade with the perception that they were the “monster” group. For them, their reputation arrived years before they did. I was anxious to meet this uniquely challenging group. Upon meeting them, I realized that they are like any other groups of kids I have worked with, but the difference was that this particular group of kids were content with their infamous reputation. However, I believed they could be more. We spent several days talking about stereotypes; identifying them in our school, and analyzing the impact they can have on the individual. When I realized that students were engaged, I pushed it further. We began talking about the word ‘reputation’ and discussed the positive and negative effects a reputation can have on the individual, a group, and a society as a whole. I challenged students to identify their reputation as a class, and we began talking about ways to change it. The ability to change one’s reputation was certainly a new concept for students, and they ate it up. We started by identifying their positive attributes as a group, and how they wanted to be remembered when they leave the district as seniors. That organically turned into creating Wordles. Students worked for a couple of days, and then we hung them in the hallway around their lockers as a constant reminder that change can happen. All it takes is the will to be different.

 

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Epic Lip Sync Battle – Making Connections With Students

As teachers, the number one thing we can do to build and foster relationships with our students is putting ourselves out there, doing something outside our comfort zone. Students need to see us away from the classroom environment, showing excitement for something other than curriculum. Shannon and I participated in our school’s Lip Sync Battle fundraiser. The response we received from students, before and after our performance, was nothing short of phenomenal. We took the time to work in random dance moves when instructing, or leave messages for students on our whiteboards to attend the after school hours event. We created the buzz weeks ahead of time, so when the evening arrived, kids were already jumping out of their seats in anticipation. We were wild, silly, and dedicated to our outrageous dance moves in front of a crowd of nearly 300 people. I thought students’ heads were going to explode when the game we were talking all along was executed just as we said it would be. They could not wait to come to school the next day to hand out high fives and congratulate us on our performance.

All it took for students to come alive, was seeing their teachers act like complete idiots. They appreciated the effort to make them laugh and give them an enjoyable evening.

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